3 March 2017, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Viet Nam — Senior Officials from the 21 APEC member economies, the world’s largest regional economic cooperation group, have concluded their two-day meeting today, in which more than 200 delegates from 21 member economies, representatives from the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) participated.
Convening for the first time in 2017 in Nha Trang and with Viet Nam as APEC Chair, Senior Officials developed trade and economic policy that all corners of society can embrace and benefit from across APEC – whose member economies circle the Pacific Rim and account for 3 billion people, half of global trade and 60 per cent of world GDP.
At the meeting, Senior Officials unanimously endorsed four priorities for APEC cooperation in 2017, namely: Promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; Deepening regional economic integration; Strengthening MSMEs’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and Enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.
Emphasis was also placed on discussing new initiatives and detailing concrete measures to concretize the four priorities, and to ensure that growth, globalization, free and open trade and investment that APEC is a champion in will be beneficial to all people and businesses in our region.
Strong consensus was shown by economic members on the need of enhancing regional economic cooperation and integration, and fostering more open trade for sustainable and inclusive growth in the region. In line of this, key issues were discussed, including the implementation of the Bogor Goals, the eventual realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), promotion of structural reform, human resource development, connectivity, supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), among others.
Endorsement of the Committees’ work program and priorities for 2017 is also an outcome of SOM 1, while agreeing on the events calendar of the APEC Year 2017, including SOMs, Ministerial and Ministerial-level Meetings, and the Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang this November is another. At the same time, several capacity building projects were proposed to support member economies to better take advantages of trade, investment and business opportunities from APEC.
Results of this first Senior Officials’ meeting have sent a strong message reaffirming APEC’s role as the premiere economic forum that is working for the people and businesses. These have also created momentum for APEC 2017 to advance free and open trade and investment, promote growth and greater prosperity in the region.
* The First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting was followed by a press conference chaired by APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son to discuss the outcomes and road ahead.